Joe Blanton pitched a season-high 7 2-3 innings for his best outing of the season, while the offense exploded for 12 runs on 15 hits, as the Phillies narrowed their divisional deficit with a rare interleague sweep.
The 100-mph gusts that whipped through Citizens Bank Park carried the last traces of slump away. Indeed, the Phillies have been through the wringer, and after yesterday’s jet wash, look like they’ve finally emerged from a month-long car wash. The showroom shine has returned to hot rods Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth. Over the last six games, they’re hitting .454, .417 and .444, respectively. That’s really the most important development and the main reason why they’ve closed the gap to 2.5 games behind the Braves, who were swept by the white-hot White Sox. Meanwhile, Placido Polanco, who went 4-for-5, remains a steady import, while Raul Ibanez has been a dependable .300 hitter over his last 14.
When the Phillies say they feed off each other, believe it. If the pistons are firing on all cylinders, guys like Dane Sardinha and Wilson Valdez typically get caught in the slipstream. We’ve seen this a hundred times before when the Phils heat up. This week saw a first-career homer by Sardinha, the second and third of Valdez’s career and Brian Schneider’s first as a Phillie. The same holds true for pitching, as Blanton, brutal until now, hitched his best start of the season to the Phillies’ highest run total since May 15.So it looks like patience will again pay off for the Phillies. As if there was any doubt.